Family of Ellenville

Staff and volunteers from Family of Ellenville
Staff and volunteers from Family of Ellenville

221 Canal Street
Ellenville, NY   12428
(845) 647-2443

Click here to support Family of Ellenville
Staff: 2 full-time paid / 10 weekly volunteers, 15 ad hoc volunteers

Program Director:  Vivian Roman
Assistant Program Director: Domnic Pidone

Program Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Available through hotline 24 hours in emergencies

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS:   Crisis intervention: emergency short-term counseling; access to Adult, Adolescent, and Domestic Violence Case Management, Child Care, and Emergency Housing Services. The catchment for this office is the entire southwestern quadrant of the county.

ANCILLARY SERVICES:   Client advocacy; food closet; free clothing store; housewares closet for kitchen needs; loan closet for medical needs (i.e. wheelchairs, crutches, walkers—all when available); linen and personal care items closet; free public telephone for local business calls and long distance in emergencies: access to computer and internet; employment and rental listings; and use of meeting space for community groups and other agencies’ programming. Seasonal programs include holiday foods and toys, outerwear distribution, basic school supplies. Hot drinks and food snacks are available every day during open hours. Books for children and adults are available for reading in or taking home. Extensive bulletin board and pamphlet areas with information on all local and many countywide agencies, programs and special events. Supervision is provided for community service, work experience, work-study and internships, and for court-mandated community service. Motel placements for individuals and families unable to be serviced by Family’s shelters are arranged.

In July 2014, Family of Ellenville became the agency responsible for receiving the food from the Feeding America program through the Regional Food Bank of North East New York. As of 2017, twice a week staff or volunteers from FOE visit the receiving department at the Napanoch Walmart, and get salvaged and donated foods. The volume of donations is substantial. In 2017, FOE transported, weighed, stocked and distributed 93,113 pounds of food in about 150 trips. A crew of 3, one staff and 2 volunteers, do the transport. Family of Ellenville acts 2 days a week as a distribution point for some of the foods, arranging for them to be delivered to other food pantries, soup kitchens, churches and shelters that are members of the Regional Food Bank. About a third of the Feeding America food was redistributed. We highly commend the staff of the receiving department, the various department managers, and the managerial staff of Walmart for caring so much for their community.

FOE continues to provide outreach and care coordination to Ellenville area patients of the Heath Home program. Health Home Care Managers from the Ellenville branch of the Institute for Family Health refer their patients to Family of Ellenville for a wide range of resources and services.

Family of Ellenville relies heavily on the help of volunteers. The program accommodates individuals that require or want community service hours, and has provided opportunities for high school students who, as a requirement of their graduation need CS hours, folks that need CS hours mandated by the courts, individuals from local agencies that deal with drug and alcohol addiction as a part of their program of recovery, people building a resume after returning from prison, and youth sent by the Juvenile Community Accountability Board to accomplish restorative justice projects as part of Family’s One80 program. Examples of the work provided by these volunteers include: answering the hotline; maintaining informational resources; stocking the food pantry; breaking down and recycling the extensive amount of cardboard generated as well as collecting donated overripe produce for the compost containers. Additional tasks include: organizing the free clothing store; providing building and grounds repairs and maintenance; researching, downloading, and posting job opportunities; and assisting with health fairs and fundraising events.

In the past year, FOE provided work and learning opportunities to the following: 10 individuals fulfilling court community service; 1 individual in the DSS CWEP program; 2 college students in field placement semesters; 1 undergraduate student; 3 high school students performing educational community service; 2 high school students with summer employment; and 1 local addiction treatment patient seeking community work. One youth participating in the JCAB process provided volunteer assistance with a FOE fundraising event. The United Health Care agency provided a 7 person volunteer team that divided into outdoor garden workers and indoor free store workers.

FOE also provides volunteer opportunities for clients of other human services agencies on an ongoing basis. Ulster-Greene ARC Dayhab program provides several clients on a monthly food bank pick up run to Monticello to help load and unload at FOE. In addition, Dayhab sends clients weekly with supervisor to work one on one on a food pantry task. Pilot Industries brings an average of 3 clients a week with supervisor to assist on the grounds or in the food or linen closets. Ulster Cerebral Palsy agency provides one client per week with job coach for similar work. A disabled young worker and her coach, both from Sustainability CSA in Accord assist in organizing the linens and personal care items closets. As with the groups using the community room, staff and clients of their agencies and FOE become more familiar with each other.

FOE enjoys a cooperative relationship with Samaritan Village residential treatment program. One of their staff had worked her court community service hours with FOE so became very familiar with FOE services and programs. When FOE was in need of strong volunteers to build the community garden (spreading soil, mixing compost, sawing wood for the garden beds’ frames), the worker was able to get permission to bus down to FOE a dozen workers. These workers, along with another dozen community workers recruited by Ulster Corps, including families with children, created the entire garden in one afternoon, including planting seedlings.

In turn, Samaritan clients have been bussed back to FOE for the winter coat giveaway event, and for shopping in the free store, which included receiving reading glasses.

FOE participates in publicity, community events, and fundraising events most months of the year. These include health fairs, street/park and farm fairs, and Ellenville Schools open house events. FOE will be hosting 1 Large penny social event yearly which provide outreach and entertainment for low and middle income residents. Northeast Off Road Adventures, an off road driving school in the hills south of Ellenville held an event to benefit us. Winter toy drive to benefit us, providing us with toys for our annual giveaway. FOE also partnered with the Ellenville Police Department for their annual toy drive which provided 300 children with gifts.
The community garden (“Ellenville’s Secret Garden”) suffered some loss of produce by “critters” but did have delicious bumper crops of many vegetables. This year also some tree limbs and sapling trees were removed to allow more sun to the garden as well as preparing the site for the proposed garden shed. A full mature apple tree which was moved from the old garden site and trucked over to the current site survived the digging and replanting well. The entire FOE property received a new 4 foot fence as a result of a request to the Ellenville building department. This fence also creates 2 of the boundaries for the community garden.

FOE has become an informal meeting place for socializing. We provide snacks and coffee and computer access as well as books, magazines, and coupons. Occasionally we offer stews or soups in crock pots, and at times we receive leftover cooked food to share from Shiloh Baptist Soup Kitchen (to whom we frequently deliver Feeding America donations) or other events. We generally have groups of seniors or mixed aged groups and/or families with young children spending time relaxing and socializing and sharing information with each other, often while charging their electronic equipment. Middle and high school students in groups schedule a stop at FOE after school for snacks.

As part of an agency-wide effort, Ellenville staff have been trained in administering Narcan and will train on its use and distribute Narcan to individuals seeking it in the Ellenville community.